Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Robert Troy TD has written to Minister Humphreys to ask that she re-examine the eligibility criteria for the recently announced Restart Grant.
The Restart Grant will give direct aid of between €2,000 and €10,000 to eligible businesses, who employ less than 50 people and whose turnover is less than €5m. The payment is based on a business’s commercial rates bill from 2019.
Deputy Troy explained, “While this Restart Grant is welcome and will bring some relief to small businesses there are certain aspects of it which I would ask the Minister to review.
“As it stands it precludes small businesses which are in their infancy. If a business cannot provide a rates evaluation for 2019, which new businesses might not be able to, then they cannot access the grant.
“What about the micro-businesses and entrepreneurs working from their home offices? Arguably they are the ones who need this grant the most and yet they frozen out of it – this has to be re-examined.
“In the UK, a discretionary fund was set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme – we should be looking at doing the same here.
“The grant amounts are also very small when compared to our nearest neighbour. In the UK, businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality trades can access a cash grant of up to £25,000. Businesses which pay rates of £15,000 and under can receive a cash grant of £10,000, while businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
“Calling a spade, a spade, a cash grant of €10,000 for a small or microbusiness would make a much greater difference to their viability than a €2,000 grant. We know that some businesses will never open their doors again, but we should be encouraging and supporting as many as possible to get back to business,” concluded Deputy Troy.